Thursday, 2 July 2020

From the Scrapbook: June, 1990 and June 2020

Thirty years last month I had an article devoted to me in our local welsh paper, the Llanw Llŷn which was terribly exciting! Tudalen Y Plant ('Children's Page') not only featured an article devoted to yours truly and my cartoons but also a colouring in picture created by my 12 year old self! A great deal has happened in thirty years and the Llanw Llŷn followed up my progress! What with everything going on in the world at the moment, the Llanw wasn't published but instead made available online – here is that article written by Mared Llywelyn and as always I have translated the article for the benefit of all you non Welsh speakers out there! Enjoy!

Ym mis Mehefin 1990 y cyhoeddwyd yr erthygl gyntaf erioed am Arfon Jones o Nefyn a’i gartŵns – a hynny ar Dudalen y Plant Llanw Llŷn! Dri deg o flynyddoedd union i’r mis hwnnw, dyma ailymweld ag Arfon i weld sut y mae o a’i waith wedi datblygu erbyn hyn. Mared Llywelyn fu’n sgwrsio efo fo ar ran Llanw Llŷn. Dyma Dudalen y Plant Llanw Llŷn mis Mehefin 1990, sy’n cynnwys yr erthygl am Arfon ynghyd â llun ohono ac un o’i gartŵns cynnar. I gyd-fynd â’r cartŵn mae stori fach wedi iddo’i sgwennu: ‘Ers talwm, llwyd oedd pob pry. Ond un dydd gwelodd y fuwch goch gota enfys, ac aeth drwy’r enfys. Daeth allan yn dlws ac yn lliwgar. Penderfynodd y lleill fynd ar ei hôl a daethant hwythau allan yn lliwgar.’ Mae’r erthygl yn sôn bod Arfon, yn ddeuddeg oed, wedi creu hanner cant o gymeriadau mewn gwlad ddychmygol lle roedd Llywelyn Llew yn frenin. Ymysg y cymeriadau eraill roedd Lari Lama, a Plastig Pît oedd yn gallu troi ei gorff i unrhyw siâp ar ôl iddo syrthio i ryw hylif. Efallai bod rhai ohonoch eisoes yn gyfarwydd â gwaith Arfon? Fe lwyddodd i ddilyn ei ddiddordeb o’r cyfnod hwnnw a heddiw mae’n gweithio fel cartwnydd a dylunydd ac yn gwneud gwaith llawrydd. Pan oedd yn blentyn ysgol, byddai’n gweithio mewn warws gomics yn Edern ac yn mynd yno ar ôl ’rysgol ac yn ystod y gwyliau. Roedd gan Darryl Jones gwmni gwerthu hen gomics – paradwys o le i hogyn fel Arfon a fyddai’n helpu i ffeilio a storio. Aeth i Goleg Menai am dair blynedd ac yna symud ymlaen i Brifysgol Bangor am bum mlynedd arall i wneud gradd mewn Dylunio yn rhan amser. Bywddarluniwr neu animator oedd arno eisiau bod, ond i bawb ddweud wrtho y byddai angen iddo fo symud i Gaerdydd i ffendio’i draed ac yn y blaen. Penderfynodd Arfon aros ym mro ei febyd a mynd ar drywydd y gwaith dylunio. Tybed a oes rhai ohonoch yn cofio strip comic o’r enw Vincent T. Vulture yn y Cambrian News rhwng 1997 a 1998? Tra oedd o yn y coleg, Arfon oedd yr artist y tu ôl i hwnnw. Byddai’n gwneud y strip ar nos Sul, mynd i’r coleg i’w ffotogopïo ar y dydd Llun, ac yna ei bostio i Aberystwyth o’r blwch post y tu allan i’r coleg – a byddai yn y papur ar y dydd Iau. Mae’r drefn honno wedi newid erbyn heddiw yn amlwg ond, fel mae’n digwydd, ar gomics y mae Arfon yn gweithio’n bennaf. Sut fath o rai? ‘Horror comics’! Mae’n bosib nad ydynt at ddant pawb ond mae gan y genre yma lawer iawn, iawn o ddilynwyr. Unwaith roedd Arfon wedi mynd at y deintydd, ac wedi digwydd sôn ei fod yn dylunio i gomics. Pan aeth yn ôl i’r gadair am yr apwyntiad nesaf mi ddywedodd y deintydd ei fod wedi prynu un o’r comics a’i fod wrth ei fodd efo Slaughterhouse Farm! Gobeithio na chafodd y deintydd unrhyw syniadau o hynny! O leiaf gadawodd Arfon y gadair yn saff! Yn 2013 roedd dipyn o sôn yn y cyfryngau Cymreig a thu hwnt am y ffilm Zombies from Ireland, a gafodd ei sgriptio gan Ryan Kift a Sian Davies. Ffilm Zombi a wnaed gyda chyllideb fach a sgriptio wedi ei ysbrydoli gan yr hen ffilmiau o’r un genre o’r ’80au. Y stori yw bod carcharorion yn Nulyn yn cael eu defnyddio mewn arbrofion anfoesol i ddod o hyd i driniaeth ar gyfer ffliw’r moch. Maent yn cael eu cludo i Ynys Môn am fod diddordeb yn yr arbrofion gan y llywodraeth yn Llundain, ond ar y ffordd mae rhai ohonynt yn troi yn Zombie – ac mae’r gadwyn yn parhau… Mae’r ffilm ar gael i’w gwylio ar Youtube – ond chi sydd i benderfynu a fyddai’n well gynnoch chi aros nes y bydd y pandemig yma wedi mynd heibio cyn i chi edrych arni! Teg dweud bod gan y ffilm nifer parchus iawn o ddilynwyr erbyn heddiw. Arfon oedd yn gyfrifol am y gwaith celf ar y poster, ac mae hynny’n sicr yn bluen yn ei het. ‘Zombies from Ireland’ Fel person creadigol, beth yw’r gwahaniaeth rhwng gwneud ei waith personol a’i waith bara menyn? Gyda’i waith cyflogedig, meddai, mae’n llawer mwy ymwybodol bod angen iddo blesio rhywun arall a bod angen cyrraedd rhyw safon arbennig. Mae ceisio lliwio gweledigaeth rhywun arall yn cario rhywfaint o bwysau. Mae’n cael llawer o waith o America, ac yn cael negeseuon am bedwar o’r gloch y bore i drafod gwaith! Ymysg y gwaith personol sydd ganddo ar y gweill ar hyn o bryd mae sianel ar Youtube sy’n cofnodi’r broses o fynd i siop fideo ers talwm. Mae’n pigo hen ffilm ac yn peintio llun ohoni ac yn ffilmio’r broses. Pa mor bwysig yw’r broses o wneud llun felly? ‘Mae cymaint o bobol yn iwsio cyfrifiaduron i wneud gwaith fel hyn, ond dw i’n eu peintio. Mae’n cymryd oriau.’ Wonder Woman a’r Tardis Er enghraifft, mae wedi gwneud llun o boster y Gremlins ac mi gymerodd hynny bythefnos. Mae hefyd yn gweithio ar hen gloriau llyfrau Dr Who. Mae dros 100 o danysgrifwyr ganddo. Mae’n edmygu gwaith vintage Tex Avery, yr hen Looney Tunes a Tom and Jerry ond ei hoff ffilm yw Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Bu’n cymryd rhan mewn Sharkathon ble gwyliodd ffilmiau siarc am 24 awr i godi arian at elusen Alzheimers. Pan ddaeth cwmni teledu Heno draw i wneud eitem ar hyn roeddynt yn ei weld yn hynod o ddigri mai Who Framed Roger Rabbit? oedd ei hoff ffilm gan fod y tŷ yn llawn o luniau arswyd! Y clasuron yw ei hoff ffilmiau yn y bôn. Mae cartref Arfon fel amgueddfa; yn amlwg mae’n byw ei ddiddordebau a’i waith. Mae’n hoff o gasglu DVD’s a fideos ac mae wedi creu siop fideos yn ei gartref. Mae’n casglu amrywiaeth o bethau o’r ’80au a’r ’90au, yn gemau bwrdd neu ffigyrau He-Man a hen gemau Arcêd. Ella bod rhai ohonoch yn cofio’r eitem ar raglen Al Huws pan oedd o’n chwarae’r hen gêm Donkey Kong tra oedd o’n cyfweld Arfon yn ei gartref. Mae ei holl gasgliadau yn dylanwadu ar ei waith, ac yno am reswm. Wrth i’r ddau ohonom gael y sgwrs dros facetime mae tomen o Daleks uwch ei ben. Bydd Arfon yn mynychu’r Comic Conventions enwog yn Wrecsam, Caeredin a Llundain ac mae wedi cyfarfod Arnold Schwarzenegger mewn Comic Con ym Mirmingham, Stan Lee yn Llundain a David Hasselhoff yng Nghaeredin. Mae’r diwylliant yn rhan o’r brif ffrwd rŵan hefyd, felly mae’n help i hyrwyddo gwaith newydd. Mae Arfon yn sicr wedi gwneud ei farc yn y maes yma – ond cofiwch, yn y Llanw y darllenoch chi amdano fo gyntaf! Gellwch weld rhagor o waith Arfon ar ei sianel Youtube VID-O-RAMA! www.arfon.net 
Mared Llywelyn Williams

English

June of 1990 the first ever article written about Arfon Jones from Nefyn and his cartoons and it was on the children's page of the Llanw Llŷn! Thirty years ago to the month we revisited Arfon to see how much his work has developed since then. Mared Llywelyn chatted with him on the Llanw Llŷn's behalf. Here is the children's page from June 1990 which included an interview with Arfon along with an early cartoon by him, which featured with a short story, “A long time ago, all insect was grey- but one day a Ladybird flew through a rainbow and came out the other side colourful- and so all the other insects decided to do the same.” the article also mentions that Arfon was twelve and that he had created fifty characters which live in his imaginary land, ruled by King Llywelyn the lion. Amongst the various characters there are Larry Lama and Plastic Pete, who can reshape his entire body at will having fallen into a strange chemical. Perhaps you might be familiar with Arfon's work? He successfully pursued his then ambition and today works as a freelance cartoonist and illustrator. When he was younger he worked during school holidays for Darryl Jones in a vintage comic warehouse in Edern, who sold old, vintage comics- a paradise for someone like Arfon who helped to store and catalogue the comics. He went on to College Menai for three years, then moved on to the University in Bangor, enrolling in a part time course for five years achieving a degree in illustration.
His ambition was to be an animator, everyone kept telling him he would need to move to Cardiff to achieve this goal- and so he remained here and embarked on a career as an illustrator. I wonder if any of you remember a comic strip character called Vincent T. Vulture who appeared in the Cambrian News between 1997 and 1998? Arfon was the artist responsible for that, while at college he would create the strip on the Sunday evening, travel to college the following morning- he would photocopy it, post it to Aberystwyth via the postbox outside the college and it would be in the paper the following Thursday. The days of doing things that way have long since passed- Arfon works primarily in comics these days. Which kind? 'horror comics'! Not exactly to everyone's taste- but this genre has a massive following. Once, while visiting the dentist he happened to mention that he illustrated comics- the next time he returned to the dentist chair, the dentist informed him that he had purchased Slaughterhouse Farm and was a big fan! Hope the comics didn't give him any funny ideas- thankfully Arfon got away safely!

In 2013 there was a stir in the world of Welsh media and beyond due to the release of a film entitled Zombies from Ireland. Scripted by Ryan Kift and Sian Davies, it is a zombie movie inspired by the horror movies of the 1980's. The story tells of a boat carrying convicts that had been experimented on in order to find a cure for swine flu on the orders of Parliament- which lands on Anglesey causing an infestation of zombies... the film is available to watch on YouTube. It's entirely up to you if you wish to wait for this pandemic to pass before watching it! The movie has many fans, Arfon was responsible for illustrating the movie's poster. I asked Arfon, as a creative person what is the difference between commission based work and his own personal projects? He said that with commission based work, there is the emphasis to please 'someone else' and reaching someone else's expectations can be daunting at times.
He receives many commissions from America and often finds himself having to respond to messages about projects sent to him at four in the morning! One of his own personal projects is a channel on Youtube in which recounts the days of going to rent videos. He picks a film from the past and paints a tribute to it documenting the process. What is involved in this process then? “There are so many people using computers these days, but I paint everything- and it takes hours to complete” Wonder Woman and the Tardis for example, he also created a poster for Gremlins which took him a fortnight. He now has over one hundred subscribers.
He admires the work of Tex Avery, vintage Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry cartoons and his all time favourite movie is Who Framed Roger Rabbit. When he took part in a Sharkathon in which he watched shark movies for 24 hours to raise money for Alzheimers he was asked by the Heno television crew, who were filming an item, they were amused to find that Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Was his favourite film and not a horror!

Arfon loves the classic movies, and Arfon's home is like a museum and his interests can be seen in his work he collects VHS's and DVD’s and he has created a mock video shop in his home. He collects all manner of things from the 80's and 90's such as board games, He-Man figures and arcade games. Perhaps some of you might remember an item on Al Huws's radio show when he was playing the old Donkey Kong video game while visiting Arfon at his home. His collections are there for a reason as they influence his work. As we both chatted on Face-time he had loads of Daleks just overhead. Arfon has attended numerous comic conventions- from Wrexham, to Edinburgh to London and once met Arnold Schwarzenegger in Birmingham, Stan Lee in London and David Hasselhoff in Edinburgh. These conventions are very popular now and and great for promoting one's work. Arfon has certainly left his mark on this field- but remember it was in the Llanw you heard about him first! You can see more examples of his work on his YouTube channel VID-O-RAMA! www.arfon.net

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.  

New Book: Shock Value: Legacy

A brand spanking new stand-alone horror anthology for you from the good people at Hellbound Media (shown off here by my good friend, and creator of the online Competitive Colin the Comic Strip, Nick Brown!) This new 92-page, black and white graphic novel is their latest addition to an already impressive line-up of horror and dark fantasy titles and it features ten tales of terror from some of the best talent in the independent comic scene from around the world. The book celebrates “the monsters that stood as the vanguard of the horror genre”. Yours truly had the pleasure of illustrating the interior back art – follow this link to find out more, and don't forget to follow them on Facebook for more news and future releases. Tell them Arfon sent you!


© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

New Book: The Joe Bob Briggs Fanzine #7

Latest issue out now, with my tribute to the the 1980 classic chiller, The Changeling on the back cover!
As ever it's an honour to be included in this amazing publication, Paddy Jack Press once again have knocked it out of the park with this issue! But I could be biased here... tell you what, why not follow this link, buy it yourself from their Etsy shop and let me know if that's true or not...










The painting that features in this issue also features on my YouTube channel, give it a view and let me know what you think and don't forget to subscribe!


© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 15 June 2020

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Exhibition, Blackpool. 9 July 2006

Back in June of 2006 Mrs Jones and I were attending a Doctor Who event in Blackpool and to our absolute delight we discovered that there was also an exhibition showcasing props and costumes from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie (released the previous year) next to the zoo! It was poorly advertised and we only found it by chance, but when we got there it was amazing and due to those two previously mentioned points there was hardly anyone else in attendance, so we had free reign of the place. Seeing as there is little to nothing about it online, and photos seem to be in short supply I thought I would post our photos... enjoy!
















© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

New Book: The Unofficial Master Annual 2074

Regular readers of this site (Blogger assures me that I have those) will recall last year's Unofficial Dr Who Annual 1987 by those splendid chaps at Terraqueous Distributors and how I had the privilege of illustrating two stories for it, well they have only gone and done it again! This time-releasing the wonderful, Unofficial Master Annual 2074 dedicated to the original Master portrayed by Roger Delgado. This week I received my contributor edition and just as with the last book I am equally delighted with this as that previously mentioned love and devotion to the series shines through its impressive 136 pages with contributions from well known names such as Alister Pearson, Smuzz, and Andy Walker.
As I said the Unofficial Master Annual 2074 is published by Terraqueous Distributors and available from  Lulu at the print-on-demand price of £23.32 plus shipping costs). So please visit the site and order your own copy.  Well done all concerned, and thank you Terraqueous for allowing me the opportunity to work on another of their amazing publications.

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 20 April 2020

VID-O-RAMA passes 100 Subscribers!

On Saturday I reached 100 subscribers... I realise that some people achieve this figure with no real effort and other YouTubers achieve vast, greater numbers achieving the coveted YouTube Play Buttons all the time but please indulge me here, when I uploaded the Frankenhooker painting video on my channel back in August I told myself, if I had achieved 100 subscribers by next August I would keep doing these VID-O-RAMA videos..
A big THANK YOU to everyone that has helped me achieve this number, there is still a great deal to do but I am very much looking forward to getting on with it, and who knows? perhaps even getting one of those play buttons?

NEW VIDEO: The Incredible Melting Man (1977) 



© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Tim Brooke-Taylor OBE (1940– 2020)

Me, grinning like an idiot meting Tim Brooke-Taylor at
the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury- 2007

The great Tim Brooke-Taylor died last Sunday, another victim of this dreadful situation we have globally found ourselves in, serving an absolutely devastating blow to our spirits. A great English comedian and actor, there are many other sites online that do a far better job than me in documenting his amazing life and career, he started out as an active member of Cambridge Footlights, along with all the greats that would eventually become the basis of Monty Python's Flying Circus, he was a panellist on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue for almost 50 years but I think its fair to say that he will always be Tim from The Goodies.
The Goodies ran on the BBC from 1970 through to 1980 and was tremendously popular, they had various specials, comic strips, books and even made it to No 4 in the music charts with The Funky Gibbon in 1975. Then in 1980 they were asked by the BBC if they would step aside for one year so they could invest the annual budget into adapting The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for television... they never called them back. Let down by the BBC (a recurring theme for the BBC) they moved to LWT and the show aired on ITV instead, alas the the show only lasted one series and that was the end of the Goodies. Frustratingly, it's at around this time that I become 'aware' of television, and so I just narrowly missed them! Bill Oddie was now Dr. Dimple on Tickle on the Tum and Tim Brooke-Taylor was Derek Yates in Me and My Girl. But the Goodies would get together again in some form in the 1980's for a new project for the BBC, and I was in the front row for this one- Bananaman!

A loose animated adaption of the comic strip of the same name which first appeared in Nutty#1 in 1980 and the series, produced by 101 Productions aired on Children's BBC from 1983 to 1986 and featured the voices of the The Goodies with Graeme (incorrectly credited as Greame on some episodes) as the voice of Bananaman and his arch nemesis General Blight. Bill voiced Crow, Chief O'Reilly and Doctor Gloom and Tim Eddie the Gent, King Zorg of the Nerks, Auntie, Appleman and of course Eric, the ordinary schoolboy who lived at 29 Acacia Road who became Bananaman when he ate a banana! I loved this show, I read the comic strips in the Dandy, annuals, and all the various specials released and each time I read the strips I could hear their cartoon series voices in my head. I had the stationary set in school and I fondly remember being given a Bananaman Easter egg one year.
Fast forward 20 years having been teased with clips from the BBC over the years I was finally able to 'go over' their heads and experience the Goodies for myself on the Internet, and they did not disappoint- beautifully scripted, wonderfully acted and a credit to the skills and talent hired by the BBC at that time, their special guests serve as wonderful time capsules to that bygone era of both Britain and the BBC studios of the 1970's and I still say its one of the funniest shows that the BBC have ever produced. 
Signed by Graeme and Tim, notice Bill hasn't
signed it... 
 a story for another day...
Then in 2005 after a successful Australian tour the trio (with Oddie appearing via video link) played a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe, (a return for Tim who had performed there back in 1962 with the Cambridge Footlights) with their The Goodies Still Rule OK? show I remember listening to Graeme and Tim on radio 2 promoting the show and thinking how I would have liked to have seen them live, and as luck would have it they toured the UK and on Friday the 16th of March 2007 Mrs Jones and I saw them at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and they were wonderful- it was a warm look back on their career, sharing anecdotes to a packed house. Afterwards we went to the stage door as they both came out, they signed autographs and posed for photos, giving everyone their time, true gentlemen. They did not disappoint. I handed them my 1990 Dandy Special to sign, and they very kindly did so- Tim even told me how much he loved Bananaman- the cherry on the top of a very special Banana Sundae for me!
Since then we have re watched the shows, and I was even been able to introduce them to my daughter, a testament to how special those shows are. Still can't believe we lost Tim, and in such an awful way- a great, senseless loss. Last year a Indiegogo campaign was launched to complete The Goodies -The Movie a feature documentary on The Goodies on their 50th anniversary, sadly it didn't meet its target, but I hope they will try it again in Tim's honour. We need to remember how these people made our nation laugh, now more than ever. 
RIP Timbo

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 23 March 2020

New Book: The Joe Bob Briggs Fanzine #6

Latest issue of this fine publication is out now, and you can find my tribute to Q:The Winged Serpent and its director Larry Cohen (whom sadly died one year to this very day) on the back cover- but wait! There's more! The good people of Paddy Jack Press, responsible for this amazing fanzine, filled with contributions by numerous talented people, have generously made all the previous issues free to download to help lift everybody's spirits during the global pandemic! 
So follow this link and enjoy! Be sure to follow the relevant social media links and thank them afterwords mind. Oh, if downloading isn't how you 'roll' and its actual physical copies of things that floats your boat- order it on their Etsy shop tell them Arfon sent you!

The painting that features in this issue was documented on my YouTube channel, give it a view and let me know what you think. Don't forget to subscribe!



© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday, 20 March 2020

I see a bad moon rising...

How are you all doing out there? Remember when we used to just shrug off these prophecies of doom? Case in point, having survived the predicted apocalypse that was to occur when the clock struck midnight marking the start of the new Millennium, twenty one days later I was outside waiting for another sure sign of doom. January 21st 2000 I was waiting for the Moon to pass directly behind the Earth and into its shadow causing the moon to turn a reddish colour- namely a total eclipse of the moon!
Eclipses were still 'in' at this time as Britain had 'attempted' to witness its first solar eclipse for 72 years six month prior (with only part of mainland Britain witnessing totality due to having their views obscured by clouds) and so this astronomical phenomena also received some media interest. Many saw the image of the moon turning blood red to be the real sign of end being 'nigh' but this again wasn't the case, and much like the solar eclipse the clouds rolled in just as things were about to 'officially' happen. But never the less I was there, outside the studio between 3:14am – 4:15am huddled up, Panasonic NV-R33VHS camcorder in hand (hence the shaky cam) as I sketched the moon/ documenting the event. Unfortunately the mic picked up the radio (on in the background to help me document the time) and at one point YouTube flagged the music and so I had to silence one section of it but it offers a moment of time, that might be of interest to someone out there.
Or at the very least offer something to while away the hours in our quarantined bunkers.  
Hunker down, stay safe. 


© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

"Previously on Vid-O-Rama..."

So, did I mention that I have a YouTube channel?
On Sunday I uploaded my tenth painting time lapse video to my YouTube series Vid-O-Rama which celebrates movies that we rented from the video shop back in the 80's and 90's.
 I only started this project back in August and I am enjoying the process immensely and the response I have received thus far has been very positive and gratifying.
As I hope to have both this blog and the channel run parallel I thought I would create a mini playlist on here, a sort of 'catchup' telly listing thing if you will... Watch them all on a Sunday if you like, the get the full omnibus experience.



1) Tribute: Gentlemen of Horror 
A time-lapse of painting done as a tribute to Vincent Price, John Carradine, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing whose work I have always admired half tribute to the House of the Long Shadows and half  tribute to the now seemingly lost tradition of the late night movie. 




2) Frankenhooker (1990) 
One of my all time favourite horror comedies, directed by Frank Henenlotter. Loosely inspired by Mary Shelley's novel, the film stars James Lorinz and former Penthouse Pet Patty Mullen as the Frankenhooker! Side note: Patty Mullen loved the painting!
  


3) Tribute: MonsterVision's Friday the 13th Marathon hosted by Joe Bob Briggs
On Halloween 1998 Joe Bob Briggs presented a Friday the 13th Marathon on his Monstervision show showing parts 1,2,3,5 and 6 this painting serves as a tribute to both him, Monstervision and the Friday the 13th series for that matter



4) Chopping Mall (1986)
This time we celebrated Chopping Mall starring Kelli Maroney, Barbara Crampton , Tony O'Dell, John Terlesky, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Suzee Slater, Nick Segal and Dick Miller. Co-written and directed by Jim Wynorski who gave it his full endorsement!



5) Tribute: The Troma Tribute Painting Part 2
Not only was this devoted to The Toxic Avenger Part 2 and Class of Nuke 'Em Hight part 3 but it was also created to great join up with my previous Lloyd Kaufman/ Troma tribute painting from 2019!



6) Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982) 
A Halloween special commemorating the horribly overlooked third film in the franchise staring Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin and Dan O'Herlihy directed by Tommy Lee Wallace!



7) Robocop (1987) 
Dedicated to one of my all time favourite movies of all time, Robocop directed by Paul Verhoeven staring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, and Ronny Cox. With a special cameo by a robot and a cyborg!



8) Gremlins (1984)
The Christmas special inspired by the Christmas classic from 1984 directed by Joe Dante. Staring Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, with Howie Mandel as the voice of Gizmo. Also featuring the story tape given to me when the movie was released, read by Tom Baker!



9) The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs Pt. 1
I recently painted a portrait for issue #5 of the Joe Bob Briggs Fanzine and documented the process this piece featuring the movies played on the show between 29th March to 26th April 2019. The movies being, C.H.U.D. Castle Freak, Q: Winged Serpent, Society, Deathgasm, The Changeling, Madman, Wolfguy: Enraged Lycanthrope and Demon Wind.



10) The Astro-Zombies (1868) 
The Grind House classic from 1968, Astro-Zombies was written, directed and produced by the great Ted V. Mikels starring John Carradine, Wendell Corey, and Tura Satana! Granting me with an excuse to paint Tura Satana again!



Many more on the way, so be sure to 'like' and subscribe and ring that bell while your at it, to be kept in the loop! It all helps the channel to grow.

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Lament for a Video Shop: Video Llŷn

If you are what we term ‘a regular’ on here then you will already be fully aware of my YouTube channel, if not well, I urge you to subscribe, especially if you look back on the glory days of movie rentals as fondly as I do! In each video I create a painting that serves as a loving tribute to those VHS releases that we watched back in the 80’s and 90’s-so go check it out! (done it? Good) Despite the YouTube channel being my main focus, rest assured I haven’t abandoned the blog, no, far from it and I hope to make the ‘Lament a Video Shop’ posts a regular feature running ‘parallel’ with my videos in fact. So, if you would like to suggest a Video Shop that should feature in a future post, drop me a line or e-mail arfon@arfon.net
Right, last time we remembered Select Video, one of the numerous video shops that I frequented between 1991 and 1994, this time I thought we would turn the spotlight on another, Video Llŷn in Pwllheli North Wales, who opened in the early 1980’s but have a distinction that very few rental shops have these days... they are still open in the 21st century!

Video Llŷn (as in the Llŷn Peninsula, Gwynedd- North Wales)‘s story started with one Mr. Ian Jones who while working for a plastics firm noticed a demand for VHS clamshell cases. Surmising that VHS were going to be the next big thing he formed Video Llŷn on Sand Street in the market town of Pwllheli in November of 1983 and the move instantly proved to be popular one, so popular in fact that a second shop was opened twenty miles away on the High Street in Caernarfon in 1984 and a third, thirteen miles on New Street, Porthmadog in 1985. As Gwynedd and Anglesey is predominately rural,Video Llŷn also had five VW and Talbot Express vans that traveled all around, providing those unable to get to the shops the opportunity to get the latest video titles- even providing videos to the Valley Royal Air Force station on Anglesey. But the shops were the place to go to safeguard getting those latest releases. They even provided the video players themselves and offered a repair service (they even branched out to home computers, partnering with CPL Computers, the first Welsh language software company responsible for launching the first ever Welsh Language computer game in 1984). 

4 of the 5 Vans that provided videos to most of Gwynedd and Anglesey

Its dedication to its Welsh roots helped Video Llŷn to form a partnership with Welsh record label, SAIN who reached out to the shop when the Welsh language channel S4C granted the copyright and distribution rights to some of their welsh language programming, Sain needed an outlet- a way to reach the Welsh speaking public and Video Llŷn was it. The likes of Superted, Wil Cwac Cwac and Sam Tân (Fireman Sam) would no longer be limited to S4C scheduling but be available on tape to the children of Wales (The very first Welsh language tape was Superted and cost £50!) Video Llŷn worked closely with SAIN with the marketing side of things and even organised events promoting the latest releases at local schools and in store promotional days such as the time Wil Cwac Cwac came to visit the Pwllheli shop on the 25th of May 1985 to meet local children and give out free posters and stickers and encourage them to buy his latest video. 
There was one promotional ‘guest’ that visited the shop in 1990 however, that wasn’t so welcome, a Chinese Rat Snake! Debbie Evans, manageress of the Caernarfon shop received a special delivery in the shop one day and realised that the parcel in which she thought contained a rubber snake in fact turned out to be a live Chinese Rat Snake, sent as a publicity stunt by CIC Video, the distribution arm of Paramount Pictures whom had sent out 200 snakes (without prior warning) as publicity stunt to promote the release of Wes Craven’s Serpent and the Rainbow movie. The stunt managed to make the national newspapers and the News at Ten, raising issues about animal welfare and not the movie itself. What became of the Video Llŷn snake? Seems after appearing on the S4C news and front page of the Caernarfon & Denbigh news paper it disappeared whiles being transported from Caernarfon to Pwllheli... 

In the mid 90’s I became a student, an art one at that and commuted 30 miles each day to Bangor college and so this meant I was always in Pwllheli waiting for buses- as they could be few and far between this often presented me with the opportunity to not only visit the arcade but also the video shop to pick a movie for that evening, safe in the knowledge that I would be back early next morning to return it. Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Piranha 2 the Spawning and Jack Frost are just three of the many, many movies I rented from the shop. I was so fond of it in fact that I even incorporated into my college work sketching customers and staff and recreating the shop as a miniature!  As the 2000’s rolled in it seemed that DVD’s were the next big thing, but Video Llŷn was cautious of the new format having previously witnessed the battle between Beta and VHS during the 80’s (the shops had been running formats since 1983 before gradually phasing them out completely in 86) and so they tentatively started to introduce DVD’s to their line-ups in 2001 running both formats side by side before making the complete transition to DVD in 2006. 
 A steady decline in rental sales had been noted as early as the early 1990’s attributed to both the increasing popularity of Sky TV and video piracy and so the Caernarfon shop was sold as a going concern in 2002. The previously mentioned barriers didn’t help the Porthmadog shop either but when Dwyfor council imposed double yellow lines outside the shop they sealed its fate and it too was closed 2005. But the Pwllheli shop however continued to hold its own, despite having to relocate to Cardiff Road when their landlords, Agricultural Merchants Eifionydd Farmers merged with Wynnstay sold the land (it’s a Wilko store now) Video Llŷn is very much alive and open for business. 
Over the past few months I have had the great pleasure of archiving Video Llŷn, and we have been posting photos from days gone by on the shop’s Facebook page. So if you are local and want a nostalgia fix or you just like looking back at the glory days of video rentals join the Video Llŷn Facebook page and make use of the numerous galleries created for your viewing pleasure! 
Local and tired of the rubbish that television has on offer? Perhaps you are visiting the area for your holiday and need some movies? Be sure to visit the shop, and show your support! 
Tell them Arfon sent you!



TODAY: Video Llŷn located on Cardiff Road Pwllhlei

Video Llŷn, High Street Caernarfon (1984- 2002)


Video Llŷn, New Street Porthmadog (1985- 2005)

My sincere thanks to Ian Jones for granting me access to the archives, putting up with all my questions and for all the movies!

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Omnibot’s Robot Root-Out: Big D ‘Babe Boards’

“...Deep under Arfon’s studio lies an extensive collection of random artefacts thirty years in the making. His robotic assistant Omnibot has been assigned the mammoth task of excavating the collection. What will Omnibot uncover today...!”

A New Year and Omnibot’s found a new haul! We thought the first Robot Root Out of 2020 was to be about Snoots, a series of 80 cards produced by Continental Candy in 1989-I loved these! Each Snoot card featured a different character design and was divided into three categories Snoots Nose Kids, Snoots Nosimals and Snoots Nosy Bodies. A short bio of each character depicted was written on the back of the card but the main ‘feature’ of these things is that each one has a small nose shaped hole in the middle of the card for children to push their own noses through and complete the image! Great fun! However I have been unable to find locate further information about them, who devised them? The artist responsible for the designs and so on SO we have decided to shelve them until such details become available (if you can help shed some further light on them e-mail me at arfon@arfon.net) so instead we are devoted this post to another card related collection that I have.
But first (as is often the case with these things) a back story... Growing up, I was part of what could be considered a large family, with numerous grandparents, aunts and uncles spread all over the county and so weddings, wedding anniversaries, christenings and birthday seemed a fairly regular outing  and these would (more often)  take place at various strategically placed /convenient hotels,  restaurants  and family friendly pubs. These family occasions could be tedious if there wasn’t a play area (back in those days a swing or climbing frame) our parents would give us what change they had to either go play an arcade machine or buy a Coke or packet of crisps, whatever it took to keep us quiet. The later, seemed the most regular however and the late adolescent me had a particular penchant for Smiths Bacon Flavored Fries (still do) as it seemed I could only get them at these establishments I would always scan the wall behind the barkeep to see if they stocked them (still do) but this particular occasion they only sold nuts... and that was when pre-teen Arfon discovered Big D peanuts, or more specifically the way Big D peanuts promoted their products. The Big D peanut girl!

Having first been introduced to the UK in 1967, Big D (Dallas) would have been just another peanut company supplying their products to the pubs of Great Britain had it not been for the ingenious idea of introducing the ‘babe board’ in 1975 a cardboard display that contained 24 packets of 50g packs of nuts which could be hung on the wall behind the bar, but (and this is the clever bit) each time a pack would be bought more of the Big D girl’s photo on the card itself would be revealed- a very clever idea!  Never depicting actual nudity, former computer operator, South End girl turned model Beverley Pilkington was the first Big D girl having previously appeared on Page 3 and numerous Top of the Pops album covers (more on them some day) “Big D Bev" was the.... face of the brand also featured on the company’s promotional items including playing cards and calendars such as the 1979 one ‘Sporting Nuts’ which had her posing with various sports stars of the time. But it was the ‘Beverly Cards’ themselves that proved to be the real hit with the public, making a star out of Beverly and assuring great success for the company until the campaign was eventually dropped during the seemingly more politically aware times of the late 80’s.  
 The company claimed in 2003 that they had been losing £500,000 a year since the campaign had been dropped and when they reintroduced it with Page 3/ ‘lads mag’ model Ruth Higham in 2003 they saw sales rise by 35% securing the future of the company, which employed “about 140 workers” as you can imagine the re introduction of the Babe Board was met with criticism in which Rob Wooley, of Trigon Foods defended, claiming it was not offensive, declaring "There's a bit of cleavage but no nudity - it's just a bit of cheeky fun." It seemed that many a model aspired for the title of Big D peanut girl as reported in a Wigan Today in an article published in 2010 reporting on one such hopeful, Louise Royal, one of the five finalists whom had beaten “hundreds of wannabes across the country” in a contest in 'lads mag' Zoo hoping to replace the then board babe and Daily Star Sunday babe Malene Espensen and secure a four year contract with Big D.   “Middlesex marvelPage 3 Rosie Jones was crowned Big D Babe having  successfully completed a series of ‘Babe Hunt’ challenges including “proving she could pour the perfect pint” now the face of the brand also posing for Big D’s calendars with her third “and steamiest! “ calendar released in 2013 donating 10% of profits from all sales to Balls to Cancer – a male cancer awareness and research charity.
Now fully embraced by 'lad culture' and following on from their 2012 ‘finger footie’ campaign the babe board campaign was given a 21st century spin in 2013 allowing pub goers (via a “branded beer map”) the chance to play interactive pub games online and upload a photo of themselves with Rosie (whom had been voted fourth in FHM’s twenty sexiest women that year) to their social media pages. But like all good things, this was short lived, as the D peanut girl went the same way of the Page 3 and Lads Mags becoming extinct in 2016 with the company distancing itself from the 'girly' image and using simple colored backing cards indicating the flavor of the nuts be it Salted, Dry Roasted, Crunchy BBQ , Crunchy Chili, Honey Roast, Birds Eye Chili, Mixed Nuts & Raisins or Natural nut products and mixes... Was it inevitable? I guess it was. Is it shame?  I think so, as I regard it to be a very clever sales gimmick. But whatever your thoughts you will find these original cards in our eBay shop - money raised from our eBay auctions help fund all my creative endeavors and the YouTube channel.  Any questions you might have get in touch, Omnibot is only too happy to oblige!


I will add Big D haven’t purged their Facebook page as they have with their official website, so if you dig deep enough you will find an unlimited source of images devoted to their campaigns since its reintroduction and a occasional fond look back over the Big D Bev days.

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

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